Andrew Sullivan , the Sunday Times US Correspondent, wrote this last Sunday describing the conversion of a potential President in waiting. We are right to be sceptical of the religious protestations of those seeking votes to gain them political power but this has the air of truth and I am encouraged that Sullivan considers it a landmark moment. He is not one usually overly disposed the religious right or left.
The US landscape is much more religiously focused than here and it is easy to recall Alistair Cambell's words to Tony Blair saying "We don't do God". They very much do in the States. In this campaign alone you have Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon and Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor. Discerning who is God's man or women is a somewhat tricky business amidst so much faith mixed with politics. Anyway, form your own view on Barak Obama in the knowledge that this man may well soon be the most powerful leader in the world.
“The best speech Obama has ever given was in Connecticut in June 1997. In it, he describes his religious conversion. “ One Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A Wright deliver a sermon called The Audacity of Hope. And during the course of the sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learnt that my sins could be redeemed. I learnt that those things I was to weak to accomplish myself, he could accomplish with me if I placed my trust in him. And in time I came to see faith as more than just a comfort for the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the wrld and in my own life.
It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice not an epiphany. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The sceptical bent in of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish . |but kneeling beneath the cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.’